North Dakota Was Once Home To This Newly Discovered Sea Monster
Just last week, scientists revealed the existence of a new species and genus of mosasaur, a lineage of marine reptile predators dating back nearly 100 million years. The discovery was revealed last week for the first time in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History.
This prehistoric behemoth, named "Jormungandr Walhallaensis", lived approximately 80 million years ago, during a time when Earth's oceans teemed with creatures both familiar and unknown. The announcement has sent ripples through the scientific community, for this new species stands as a testament to the remarkable diversity of life that once inhabited our planet.
The revelation stems from the unearthing of a fossilized skull and jaw in North Dakota in 2015, bearing distinct and puzzling features that confounded researchers. These unexpected findings led the scientists to deduce that they had stumbled upon a creature previously unknown to science, a mysterious denizen of ancient seas.
Mosasaurs, these colossal marine reptiles, resemble giant lizards with flipper-like limbs, a testament to their remarkable adaptation to a life in the ocean. Some species of mosasaurs grew to awe-inspiring lengths, reaching up to 60 feet in size, making them formidable apex predators of their time.
In contrast, Jormungandr Walhallaensis likely measured a comparatively modest 18 to 24 feet. Its teeth offer tantalizing clues about its diet and lifestyle, suggesting that it hunted fish and smaller marine creatures as it prowled the waters of the Western Interior Seaway. This vast body of water split North America in half during the late Cretaceous Period, offering an expansive realm for this ancient predator to explore.
The mysteries surrounding Jormungandr Walhallaensis deepen with evidence of teeth marks on some of its vertebrae, marks that appear unhealed. This observation raises intriguing questions about the creature's life and encounters in the prehistoric ocean. It is possible that this mosasaur had been attacked by another animal, perhaps even a fellow mosasaur, shortly before meeting its end.
The enigma deepens further when considering the absence of the rest of the creature's skeleton when it was discovered. The conspicuously missing remains suggest a grim possibility—Jormungandr Walhallaensis may have become the prey of an even larger, more voracious sea monster.
As we continue to unearth these buried treasures, the mysteries of our planet's history only deepen, reminding us that the past holds secrets waiting to be unveiled.
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